Continuing its campaign to educate employees about their rights, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today launched a public webpage that explains the rights of employees (union or non-union) to engage in concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The launch of this webpage follows shortly on the heels of a ruling by a South Carolina federal court that struck down the NLRB's requirement that employers post a notice of employee rights under the NLRA.
In addition to providing a description of protected concerted activity, the page recites recent Board cases involving such activity and identifies them by geographic location. These cases include examples involving a construction crew fired after refusing to work in the rain near exposed electrical wires, a customer service representative who lost her job after discussing her wages with a coworker, an engineer at a vegetable packing plant fired after reporting safety concerns affecting other employees, a paramedic fired after posting work-related grievances on Facebook, and poultry workers fired after discussing their grievances with a newspaper reporter. In each instance, the Board has indicated that the involved conduct is protected by the NLRA and that firing employees for engaging in such conduct violates the NLRA.
As was prudent in the face of the now-defunct NLRB posting requirement, employers should review their employment policies to ensure compliance with the NLRA. Employers also should train managers regarding the requirements of the NLRA specifically relating to protected concerted activity. Finally, employers should consider implementing employee education programs and reminding employees of the internal complaint procedures available to them.
The NLRB's new webpage can be found at www.nlrb.gov/concerted-activity.